CEPOA BOARD RESPONSE TO ANONYMOUS LETTER 10/18/2021
Thank you to those who are using the cepoa.org Contact Us tab to easily contact the Board with your thoughts on the Deep Well Failure issue. The recent anonymous letter you received taped to your mailbox was well-written, but did have some critical errors which we address below.
Here are some facts reported on the State Well Usage Reports from October 2021:
THERE ARE 80 DENVER WELLS: 17 OWNERS ARE CURRENTLY USING THEIR WELLS AND ARE UNWILLING TO SHUT DOWN
ROXBOROUGH WATER AVAILABILITY AND USAGE
In 2016, we voted for this sustainable source of water that greatly increased the value of our homes. The old 1985 augmentation plan still requires us to pump 9.5 million gallons of deep well water from the Larimer Fox Hills (LFH) aquifer into Plum Creek. This is the amount of water that the Denver Water Division estimated that 103 homeowners used every year from the Denver aquifer in 1985. This estimate assumed 3.5 people and 4 horses for each lot with 3900 SF of irrigation.
Now we have Roxborough water so very little is being taken from the Denver aquifer yet we are still court ordered to pump that huge amount. Before we got Roxborough water, the Denver aquifer was drying up. 19 homeowners out of 103 lots in our community drilled into the Arapahoe aquifer because their Denver wells went dry. Neither of the two ballot choices affect the Arapahoe Well users. The Arapahoe Decree is separate from the Denver Decree.
Our water attorney recommends that we go to court to get these original estimates changed to reflect current community usage as reported in our 2021 Well Usage Reports since we now have Roxborough water.
This could go many different directions: from a simple reduction in our augmentation totals; reduction and shut down of Denver Wells; or something in between where our G3T water rights can cover the 17 well users.
Hopefully, the court will modify the decree based on actual Denver Water use and allow us to keep a few Denver Wells for outside irrigation. However, our goal is to get out of pumping from the LFH and if the court requires us to stop all Denver Well use to achieve this goal we will direct our attorney to get the best deal possible for the majority of the community.
The deep well pump died and will cost $61,000 to repair and if the deep well caves in or goes dry (the aquifer went down 200’ in the last 8 years), it will cost an estimated $400,000 to redrill. A new well would result in a special assessment of about $4000 so that a few (17) can keep using their Denver Well water.
Regarding the water restrictions imposed by RWSD (Roxborough Water and Sanitation District) are only for summer months when usage is high.These types of water restrictions have been around for decades and effectively reduce excessive consumption during peak periods. The State can impose those same restrictions on well users.
VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY
The anonymous letter makes a statement that a working Denver well adds value to your property. The letter fails to tell you that HOA’s have to do a Reserve Study (ours is posted on our website cepoa.org) and in that study we say there is a large (up to $400,000) potential future liability for repairs/replacement of the LFH augmentation well unless we go to court to get this 1985 augmentation plan changed. Your financial advisor or realtor probably told you to look for potential liabilities in the HOA records before you purchased property here. The Denver aquifer is drying up and these Denver wells have a limited life. All 5 of the Board members live in this community and 3 have functioning Denver Wells, so ask yourself, “why would we do anything that would decrease the value of our own properties”? The 3 CEPOA Board members, with working Denver wells, still recommend Option 1 which says go to Court to get the pumping requirements modified which may likely result in discontinuance of their Denver wells.
In our opinion, removing this large liability will actually increase the value of your property. Keeping the augmentation plan for the Denver wells may actually decrease the value of your property as wells are a continual cost in the operation and maintenance of pump, casing and monitoring.
The anonymous letter also implies that keeping your Denver wells will allow homeowners to have larger amounts of landscaping. The Denver Water Decrees limit our landscaping irrigation to 3900 sf. Roxborough has no limit but encourages conservation which is something we all agree with when you live in an arid climate.
The anonymous letter suggests hiring a Water Operations Manager to manage the LFH deep well. If we are required to continue LFH pumping, we will also need to hire an Administrative Technician to design, tabulate, and report water information to the Water Operations Manager. The anonymous letter suggests a $500 Special Assessment for the 79 Denver Well owners. The writer also suggests all producing Denver Well owners purchase/install a meter but he/she does not include that cost. The Board wants to reduce costs not increase them.
The current Board has studied this issue for 3 years. We have set up a Reserve Account specifically for water related costs so that we don’t have to come to the membership with a Special Assessment request. In addition we have other savings to cover fees estimated by Attorney Jeffers for negotiating the decrees. This is the same attorney who won the previous case in 1995.
We have the best interests of the majority of the community in mind when we recommended Option 1 on the ballot. In summary, the Board feels that it just doesn’t make sense to spend $61,000+ of community funds on repairing the deep well so that 17 Denver Well users can continue usage.
Thank you to all who attended the 10/7 Meeting.
VOTING BEGINS NOW – DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 22
Ballots should be placed in an envelope and mailed to or dropped off at:
6015 W. Lakeside Ct. Littleton, CO 80125
(Janice Wiskamp’s house)
Sealed envelopes will be placed in a locked ballot box, opened by Moeller-Graf law firm (independent law firm – not the water law firm).
Results will remain anonymous with only a total of yes or no votes reported to the board.
ONE VOTE PER LOT
DEADLINE FOR VOTING IS OCTOBER 22